Monday, May 26, 2014


If we're honest, we have a treasure trove of self-deprecation.  You know your foibles better than anyone else. Rodney Dangerfield's "I don't get no respect" attitude is fodder for writing. Mine your own insecurities once in a while; laugh at yourself and encourage your reader to laugh at those qualities in them.  It's part of the human condition.

Anne Lamont is a good example.  She describes a reading where she had jet lag, the self-esteem of a prawn, and to top it off, she stopped breathing. She said she sounded like the English patient.

Understatement and hyperbole work in writing.  Exploit them both.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Favorite Quote on Writing -- James Baldwin

One writes out of one thing only — one's own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give. This is the only real concern of the artist, to recreate out of the disorder of life that order which is art.
Baldwin, James. Autobiographical Notes. 1952.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Try Five Different Styles

Write this incident in five completely different styles:
A man gets off a bus, stumbles, looks over and sees a woman smiling.

Let me know how it goes.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Song and Rhythm

Struggling with my novel about a Vietnam combat Marine, I came across this quote from Woody Guthrie in the Sun, May 2014, Issue 461:

". . .When a soldier shoots a soldier, that's a note to this song. When a cannon blows up twenty men, that's part of the rhythm, and when a soldier march off over the hill and don't march back, that's the drumbeat of this song. . . ."

Progress On My Second Novel

The main problem in my second novel is drawing out the female protagonist. She is 21, admitted to a psych ward of a hospital after a suicide...